Games I played / games I bought at GenCon 2010
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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GenCon 2010 was my first gaming convention and I loved it. I've been a board gamer / card gamer for the past fifteen years or so and I found that GenCon was pretty much nirvana.

I spent a lot of time, especially the first day or two, wandering almost in a daze and overwhelmed with the possibilities. It seemed like there was something new - something great - going on around every corner.

By Saturday (day 3), I was getting pretty heavily into the gaming - most of the "played" items below were played from Friday night onwards.

I met tons of interesting people on the trip, too. No BGGers (I don't think) but if you met a tall guy named Trent there, it was probably me.

I ordered these entries in the order that I thought would be of most interest to someone who loves board games, but didn't make the convention. If I hadn't been in a daze the first day or two, the list would probably be much longer.
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1. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:523] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played, then bought

I had never heard of this game until GenCon 2010 and it was being demo'd at a booth far in the back of the exhibit hall, an area I didn't even visit until the third day of the convention. I watched a demo and was intrigued by it.

Later that evening, I found that a friend of a friend had purchased it. Our mutual friend borrowed that copy. We proceeded to play Ascension nonstop until three in the morning or so.

Ascension is perhaps most similar to Dominion, but there are pieces that remind me of both Race for the Galaxy and Magic: the Gathering. It's a card game that, like Dominion, involves you building a deck as you go throughout the game, but the game is limited not by cards purchased, but by victory points acquired (represented by plastic gems in the box, but could be substituted by any number of things). I think I would pull this out instead of Dominion for two players or possibly three, but Dominion would fit with four players better.

This (along with perhaps Dixit, too) was the hit of the convention for me.
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2. Board Game: Dominion: Prosperity [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.28 Unranked]
 
Trent Hamm
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Huxley
Iowa
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Bought, then played

I didn't actually play my own copy of this - I got a game in with it in the Rio Grande demo room. Excellent expansion - I think it's my favorite one yet. I have noticed, however, that it seems to be escalating the scores in games I play with it. I broke 100 for the first time with Prosperity cards.
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3. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:184]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played, wished I could have bought

First of all, I'm an addict when it comes to the Civ series of computer games. I demo'd this game, which had typical high quality FFG production values. It basically seemed like a paper duplicate of Civilization: Revolutions, which means that it's got most of the Civ experience wrapped up in what I would estimate to be a three hour package for four players.

For me, the most notable innovation was how the tech tree was handled in the game. Basically, if you build two level 1 techs, you can build a single level 2 tech, and so on up, forming something of a pyramid. Being the first to build a level 5 tech wins you the game (basically meaning the first one to have 2 level 4 techs then build one on top of those two). This will be the new standard in how these are done, I think.

I am highly excited to see this game's release.
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4. Board Game: Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1214]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played

To me, this felt too much like Settlers of Catan. The mechanism for exploring the west was intriguing (basically, you start on the east coast and everything/everyone grows westward) but I kept asking myself whether I would pull this off the shelf instead of classic Settlers, either with new players or with my group, and I couldn't ever honestly say I would pull America out instead of Catan.
 
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5. Board Game: Ingenious Challenges [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Bought

This was something of a gift for my wife because she quite likes Ingenious and this provides variants in a smaller box. I read the rulebook before buying, but I didn't get a chance to play it first.

Bonus: this purchase got me one of those giant Fantasy Flight bags that held all of the gaming material that I purchased on the trip.
 
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6. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:204] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played, then bought

I had heard good things about Dixit, but hadn't had a chance to play it until the convention. After just one game, I had decided to buy it, but I managed to get in several additional plays while there. It fills that sweet spot that Apples to Apples just barely misses for me.

While picking this up, I also got the American promo (depicting a cowboy watching television) and Dixit 2 (a deck of 84 additional art cards) as well.

This will be a big hit with both my gamer friends and with my family, I think.
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7. Board Game: Pirate's Cove [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1066]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Bought

I picked this up for $19 sealed at a ding-and-dent sale because it featured a big dent in the back of the box. I'm not strongly familiar with it, but I am familiar with several other high-quality (in terms of both gameplay and production value) titles from DoW.
 
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8. Board Game: Talisman (Revised 4th Edition): The Reaper Expansion [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Bought

I picked up this and the Frostmarch expansion from the ding-and-dent sale at a discount. The box seems basically unharmed. I look forward to incorporating these into my Talisman gaming.
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9. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:64]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Bought

I picked this up because I'm a fan of Shadows over Camelot (a similar cooperative-with-a-traitor game), the glowing reviews of it, the quality of the television series, and the fact that it was at deep discount at the ding-and-dent table. I spent way too much money on ding-and-dent games.
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10. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:863]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Bought

I picked this up (again, at a discount somewhere - I'm such a "bargain" hunter) mostly because my wife and I go through phases of speed-solving puzzles against each other and this will scratch that itch very well.

I almost wound up playing this in the board game room, but someone beat me to the chair to fill a fourth slot, so I watched for a while.
 
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11. Board Game: Tannhäuser [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1719]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played

I played a demo of this at the Fantasy Flight booth. Typical high-quality production, well thought out rules, and engrossing gameplay that Fantasy Flight provides. I enjoyed the demo, but I simply couldn't see opportunities where my group would bust this one out on top of the other options in my game closet.
 
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12. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:114] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played

I'm a happy owner of Memoir '44. It was fun to play this against new opponents, including playing some scenarios I had never tried before. Memoir '44 is my favorite war game - it's light enough that I can actually convince people besides hardcore wargamers to play it, but it's rich enough that I can get a feel for the scenarios themselves and the sense of battle.
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13. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:152] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played

After having not played Magic: the Gathering for several years, I participated in a handful of drafts with the new basic set, M11, and won a few of them, bringing home a pile of boosters and some useful singles for my draft cube.
 
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14. Board Game: Legend of the Five Rings [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1079] [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Trent Hamm
United States
Huxley
Iowa
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Played

I'd seen this game for years, but never played it until a friendly Lot5R gamer sat down and taught me how to play it. I quite enjoyed it and recognized how solid the game was - after all, it's survived almost as long as Magic has.

I could see myself playing this regularly if I had consistent opponents. However, no one plays it in my area, so this might just be one that I try at future cons.
 
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